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The Week: Obama Channels Reagan, Public TV in Peril, Clooney’s Eye in the Sky

2011128184933631572_20 This week we saw Egypt erupt, while their government targeted journalists trying to cover the story.

George Clooney’s eye-in-the-sky over Sudan produced some disconcerting images.

More than 400 rabbis protested Fox News “Nazi” references, and they made their grievances known on News Corp. turf.

Jon Stewart, still fighting with Fox over Third Reich rhetoric, was named to the board of the 9/11 memorial.

256704-Obama_2011_State_of_the_Union President Obama delivered Reagan-esque optimism in the State of the Union, something that may serve him well even if there are doubts that he can make wireless ubiquitous in just five years.

And…presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty top gunned campaign spots, Keith Olbermann broke his silence with tweet after tweet, Maxine Waters finally weighed in against the approval of Comcast NBC U, and one of the biggest champions of NPR and PBS comes from the right.

Mailbox: There were a number of comments to the post on the Oscar snub of “Waiting for Superman” for best documentary, even as it helped elevate the fate of public education into the national debate.

Commenter “Khodabear” wrote, “Yours is the only substantial industry in the world that has absolute distain (sic) for its customers.

“Seriously – you make PG&E look like a chain of Day Spas. And you wonder why your revenues and business model continues to decline.”

Commenter Ningrim wrote, “Variety acts like the reason for this is some mystery to them. They need to get out of the Hollywood bubble. Has a right-leaning or critical-of-the-left documentary every been nominated? Doesn’t matter how good it is, that’s an instant disqualification.”

There were even more calls from congressional Republicans this week to end funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

My story on the perils ahead for NPR and PBS drew this lengthy response from commentator Lynne G, who found their marketing and lobbying campaigns wanting: “Public broadcasting’s biggest enemy is itself – and I say that as a onetime employee and lifelong supporter. Across the system, in tv/radio/online, there’s a head-in-the-sand mentality. Few outlets explore or develop smarter, more effective fundraising concepts. Fewer still study and practice competitive marketing. Despite all the economic and media changes of the past decade, most public broadcasting entities do things the same as they did in 2001. That includes still spending time and money on endless research and conferences to discuss the sorry state of their problems.

“Their big lobbying campaign to fight these funding cuts is a perfect example: they’ve got a website and strategy around the claim that 170 million Americans, half the U.S. population, use public media. And with this positioning, they’re handing it to the Republicans who are probably asking, “Then why aren’t you capable of generating more than 5-10 percent of member donors from that base?” It’s a shame if we lose public broadcasting but the system itself is making it more and more a reality.”

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